Saturday, December 12, 2009

#10 - #8

10: Pan's Labyrinth

"Pan's Labyrinth" is one of the cinema's great fantasies, rich with darkness and wonder. It's a fairy tale of such potency and awesome beauty that it reconnects the adult imagination to the primal thrill and horror of the stories that held us spellbound as children." -Roger Ebert

That is not to confuse this with a "children's film" which it is not. As Ebert also says, "it is a harsh and uncompromising film." Uncompromising to its great credit.

9: Almost Famous

It just makes you feel good. The fact that Cameron Crowe can create a film like this and "Say Anything" just makes it all the more frustrating when he fails (as in Elizabethtown). Made Kate Hudson a star. Still waiting for her to equal this one.

8. Inglourious Basterds

A collection of great long scenes. Almost all of which are interrogation scenes. Tarantino also shows faith in his audience. Maybe we don't always know why we are a bit on edge, but explaining why, would just ruin the moment.

Example: Shoshanna, a Jew who is obviously hiding that fact, while eating with Nazi Col. Landa at dinner. The undercurrent tension is when Landa orders her the crème fraiche. We get extreme closeups of the dessert. Just what is it about that crème?

Critic David Bordwell: Landa is looking for signs that she won’t eat dairy products not prepared according to Orthodox dietary rules. Few filmmakers today would trust audiences to imagine this possibility on their own; instead we’d get an explanation to an underling. (“So here’s a quick way to find out if we have a Jew ….”)

While there are plenty of great things to ponder in the film such as this example, the key is it turns out to be just darn entertaining. If Tarantino could have only written history. In this case, he did.
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